The RBK Eurocamp in Treviso was once again a big success this year, certainly worth the 5 very valuable calendar days it takes up during this crucial time of the year. While the level of play might not have always been spectacular, you cant put a price on the value of seeing the amount of (often obscure) international prospects we got to take in during a matter of four days, between the 45+ camp participants and the various teams that came through to compete against the all-star selections. As Boston Celtics General Manager Chris Wallace told us during one game this camps saves NBA teams an incredible amount of time and money making it an invaluable experience for us.
Day Four Individual Prospect Recaps:
Giorgos Printezis, 6-9, SF/PF, Olimpia Larisa, Greece
19 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 block, 5/10 2P, ¾ 3P, 23 minutes
The first would be his very quick first step, which he used on numerous occasions to make some very strong moves to the basket. He doesnt have great body control or explosiveness to contort himself in traffic and finish super creatively around the hoop, but he is intelligent enough to usually get the job done. Having a prototypical frame for an NBA small forward, complete with excellent strength, he is able to finish strong even after taking contact. Printezis crashed the glass pretty well also, showing nice quickness in the process and the toughness and aggressiveness to get the job done.
Where Printezis was at his best in this game was probably behind the 3-point line, thoughknocking down shot after shot when left open on the perimeter. Hes not the kind of guy who will openly look to create shots for himself from behind the arc, but if given a second to square his shoulders and set his feet, he showed that he has the ability to hit his shots at a very nice clip. He made a living in this game off the catch and shoot.
Something we came away still unsure about following this camp was Printezis ability to defend athletic small forwards on the perimeter, even if his lateral quickness does not look all that poor. This is something that NBA teams might want to take a closer look at if they bring him in for NBA private workouts leading up to the draft. Printezis did a very nice job here, going from being almost completely off the radar to giving NBA scouts we spoke with plenty of food for thought regarding whether he might be worth investing a 2nd round pick on. At the end of the day, thats what camps like this are really all about.
Joao Gomes, 6-6, Shooting Guard, Barriense, Portugal
26 points, 4 rebounds, 5/5 2P, 4/5 3P, 26 minutes
Even if he's not the guy with the best basketball IQ around, lacking some creativity and passing skills, he's a good athlete with an excellent stroke and very nice ability to finish near the rim, while he works pretty well on defense and rebounding the ball. If the scouts were still paying attention, this late performance should leave him with a pretty solid status in the second round.
Alexey Shved, 6-5, PG/SG,1988, CSKA Moscow, Russia
7 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 4 turnovers, 2/3 2P, 1/6 3P 16 minutes
Shved has nice tools for the combo guard position, featuring good size, long arms and very nice athletic ability, even if his frame looks pretty frail at the moment. He has a quick first step and pretty good ball-handling skills with either handmaking him a threat to go one on one at any time. He also likes to operate in the mid-range area, usually to pull-up smoothly off the dribble after going left. He hit one 3-pointer in this fashion and another from about 18 feet out, but struggled otherwise with his long-range shooting today.
Shved is billed a big point guard, and even if he played off the ball quite a bit in this game, still showed a pretty good understanding of how to find the open man on the drive and dishmaking quick decisions within the flow of the offense and doing a good job feeding the post with entry-passes. He did get a bit wild at times, though, leaving his feet before having made up his mind as to what he wants to do, and causing a couple of unnecessary turnovers due to his over-exuberance trying to make the spectacular play. His Russian coach wasnt going to stand for such a thing from one of the youngest players on the team, so he was promptly benched for a few minutes after throwing the ball carelessly out of bounds on one occasion.
Despite being a year younger than most of his teammates and up to three years younger than the players he was matching up against, Shved still stood out on the defensive end. His long arms and nice lateral quickness help him out in this area, but he also seems to have good instincts on this end, even if he has a tendency to gamble a bit for blocks and steals.
All in all, Shved did a good job showing off the various tools he has at his disposal, even if he still looks a couple of years away from being able to contribute at the senior level and eventually try to play his way into first round draft consideration. Being a product of the very well respected CSKA Moscow youth development system, hes obviously going to be getting some good coaching to help him along that path.
Saul Blanco, 6-5, Shooting Guard, Fuenalabrada, Spain
7 points, 3 rebounds, 3/3 2P, 26 minutes
Saul has shown maturity and intelligence during the camp (actually he's studying Telecommunications Engineering, pretty impressive since it's one of the very most difficult degrees in Spain), very good decision making, an increasingly better shooting stroke, and very good defensive and rebounding activity. Although not extremely intriguing, he's a player with nice potential who understands the game and seems to enjoy the attitude and mental strength to keep improving for many years (indeed, we have seen him working on his own on his perimeter shot during the past summer). The fact that many NBA teams weve spoken to have admitted to not having done their homework scouting him in the ACB league probably hurts his stock in the draft, but still it wouldn't be that surprising if someone bet on him with a very late second round pick, even if it seems a bit unlikely.
Rudy Mbemba, 6-0, Point Guard, 1987, Frankfurt Skyliners, Sweden
9 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers, 3/5 2P, 1/1 3P, 24 minutes
Mbemba looked a lot more aggressive early on looking to show off his terrific slashing skills. He came up with two big dunks early on, utilizing his excellent ball-handling skills, particularly his lightning quick crossover, to make his way into the paint and either find the open man underneath the hoop or finish the play himself. He also made some very nice post-entry passes on the fly, again showing his improving knowledge of executing the pick and roll, but also had a couple of careless forces getting a bit wild with his dribble.
He slowed down a bit in the 2nd half, but that doesnt take anything away from the excellent camp Mbemba hadprobably making him the favorite for MVP honors.
Anton Ponkrashov, 6-7, Point Guard, 1986, CSKA Moscow, Russia
2 game totals: 16 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 turnovers, 3/5 2P, 2/7 3P, 43 minutes
Over the course of the week it was pretty obvious that the Russian point guard was lacking focus, causing him to get extremely frustrated with himself, which only usually made things worse. Its not clear whether he is suffering from rustiness after not having gotten that much playing time this past season (even if he was certainly a rotation player), or whether it was the pressure of playing in front of the NBA scouts that really got to him. What is certain is that he definitely turned the ball over too much, and forced his 3-point shot excessively.
Ali Traore, 6-9, PF/C, 1985, Le Havre, France
10 points, 2 rebounds, 0 assists, 3 turnovers, 1 block, 5/7 2P, 15 minutes
After guaranteeing to pull down 10 rebounds when we last spoke yesterday (he asked us why we dont consider him a potential first round pick like other scouting services), Traore only managed to get 2 todayfurther confirming his biggest weakness as an NBA prospect. Having the chance to evaluate his rebounding skills very closely throughout his time on the court, we can say with some confidence that he does a very poor job boxing out his opponents and doesnt seem to put much effort into going after rebounds that are out of his areaeven having a few balls snatched right out of his hands by smaller opponents. For a guy who isnt the tallest, explosive or most skilled prospect in the world, this has to be considered a serious cause for concern.
Victor Claver, 6-9, SF/PF, 1988, Pamesa Valencia, Spain
2 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, ½ 2P, 0/1 3P, 22 minutes
Artur Urazmanov, 6-1, Point Guard, 1987, CSKA Moscow, Russia
2 points, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1/1 2P, 0/2 3P, 13 minutes